After a year of near-constant traumas for Black and brown Americans—from particularly deadly COVID-19 outcomes, especially in prisons and jails, to a series of high-profile murders by police—another devastating murder has rocked the United States. Near the site of Derek Chauvin’s trial in Minneapolis for his killing of George Floyd, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was murdered by a police officer after being pulled over for a traffic violation.
TCJC Press Releases
Press Contact: For all media inquiries, please contact Madison Kaigh, Communications Manager, at mkaigh@TexasCJC.org or (512) 441-8123, ext. 108.
One Year After First Taking Action on COVID-19, Texas Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Decry Continuing Dangers for Incarcerated People
Exactly one year after the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) first asked Governor Greg Abbott to protect incarcerated people and their communities from the urgent threat of COVID-19, the organization is remembering the lives lost to the virus and continuing to push for action. On March 16, 2020, TCJC and a large group of advocates and system-impacted people published a letter to Governor Abbott and the state’s criminal justice agencies with clear directives to mitigate the potential disaster of a deadly and fast-spreading virus in youth and adult corrections facilities.
On International Women’s Day, Texas Women’s Justice Coalition Continues Fight for Better Outcomes for Women Impacted by the Justice System
For the fourth consecutive year, the Texas Women’s Justice Coalition is taking action on International Women’s Day to keep women out of the justice system and improve outcomes for those who have been impacted by arrest and incarceration. The Texas Women’s Justice Coalition is comprised of more than 70 formerly incarcerated women, advocates, and service providers seeking to stem the tide of women’s incarceration, improve their conditions of confinement, and help women successfully return to their families and communities.
Statewide Leadership Council: Advocates Call for Emergency Planning in Texas Prisons Following Horrific Week [Press Release]
After historic winter weather caused a statewide emergency and devastated power and water supplies throughout Texas, families of incarcerated individuals from across the state are demanding better emergency preparedness for Texas prisons. The horrifying conditions experienced by incarcerated individuals and prison staff during the winter storm revealed a lack of preparation by prison officials to address even the most basic needs.
Letter to Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman: Inspect 2 Protect “Creates a Barrier to Vital Support Networks”
Today, a group of advocates, organizations, and system-impacted individuals released a letter sent to Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Patrick O’Daniel, which highlights the negative impacts of the “Inspect 2 Protect” policy enacted at Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) facilities last year. The letter—which received 29 signatures from local, state, and national groups—reiterates previous advocate requests for the policy to be reconsidered.
On Opening Day of 87th Texas Legislative Session, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Prioritize Justice Reform
Kicking off the opening day of Texas’s 87th Legislative Session, where state leadership will be contending with a billion-dollar budget shortfall, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) repeated their previous call for lawmakers to prioritize communities over corrections in an unprecedented year.
Today, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released its legislative strategy for the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. The organization’s strategy is presented as a “divestment portfolio” for Texas lawmakers and is titled Spend Your Values, Cut Your Losses: Smart and Safe Justice System Solutions that Put Communities First.
New Report Shows How Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Experience the Criminal Legal System in Texas
A new joint report from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) and The Arc of Texas shows how individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DDs) are more likely to become involved and entrenched in the criminal legal system, and it highlights the unique challenges they face.
This week, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released an open letter urging Texas leaders, legislators, and staff to prioritize justice reform during the state’s 2021 legislative session. With Texas facing an anticipated budget shortfall of $4.6 billion by the end of fiscal year 2021, TCJC emphasized the urgency of this moment as an opportunity for a top-down realignment in how our state’s money is spent, and the need for real public health and safety infrastructures.
As the national movement around justice system transformation continues to swell, this month the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released two new data dashboards that make justice system information accessible to the public.
A recent study shows that when appointing attorneys to represent indigent clients, elected judges in Harris County (Houston) were far more likely to choose lawyers who had donated to their campaigns. In these “pay to play” cases, the study further found that defendants were more likely to end up in prison or jail, and received longer sentences on average.
Today, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released a new report focused on addressing rehabilitated youth who are serving extreme sentences in adult prisons with little hope of ever being released. “Second Look: For Justice, Safety & Savings” provides a comprehensive background on the history of extreme juvenile sentencing and the extent to which Texas is a harsh outlier.
A new report from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) provides a snapshot of COVID-19’s impact on the Harris County justice system. The report analyzes population data beginning on March 19, 2020, when Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a statewide health emergency.
TCJC Releases Urgent Statement Regarding Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order Suspending Jail Release for Thousands of Texans
Contrary to the advice of public health experts, legal experts, and sheriffs across the country, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Sunday that suspends basic constitutional protections for people detained in county jail and puts thousands of people – many of whom have chronic illness – at grave risk of contracting COVID-19.
COVID-19: Texas Advocates, Community Leaders, and Justice System Experts Send List of Urgent Mitigation Directives to Governor’s Office
Today, a group of advocates, community leaders, and justice system experts sent a list of urgent recommendations regarding COVID-19 and incarcerated populations to Governor Abbott. Urging state leadership to recognize the particularly dire threat that the global pandemic poses to people incarcerated in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities, the letter lays out recommendations for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, county jails (including sheriffs, courts, and district attorneys), law enforcement, and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Yesterday, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released a new report sharing the future policy priorities of the Texas Women’s Justice Coalition. The report, called “The Future of Dignity: Insights from the Texas Women’s Dignity Retreat,” is the result of a wide-ranging policy discussion led by many of the women who pushed for eight new women’s justice bills to become law during the 2019 Texas legislative session.
ICYMI: Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Releases Comprehensive Report on Restorative Justice, School Discipline in Texas
Yesterday, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released a landmark report on restorative justice and school discipline in Texas. “Reversing the Pipeline to Prison in Texas: How to Ensure Safe Schools AND Safe Students” was released in conjunction with a student-led conversation on school discipline in San Antonio.
Key findings from upcoming report reveal Travis County drug possession arrests disproportionately harm Black residents
A review of 2,900 drug possession arrests in Travis County from June 2017 to May 2018 reveals troubling police practices that harm communities, exacerbate racial disparities in arrests and jail detention, and fail to address underlying needs of people who use drugs.
Today, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released its newest report, which shares the stories of youth, families, and justice practitioners impacted by Texas’ failure to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18. “Seventeen in the Adult Justice System,” which is available online here, comes after the fourth state legislative session in which TCJC and its allies have worked to “raise the age” to align with best practices in the 46 states where 17-year-olds are no longer automatically charged as adults.
Next week, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) will host an event highlighting the youth, families, and justice practitioners impacted by Texas’ failure to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18. Texas is one of four states left in the United States to “raise the age.” The event, hosted during Youth Justice Action Month, will feature people in TCJC’s newest report through a photo gallery and on-site speakers.